I recount the hardship of returning from evacuation to a Riga ravaged by war—and of citizens who were the victim of a constant, inner duality, i.e. of the contradiction between the external conventions of Soviet reality and the inner falsity of Bolshevik ideology. I describe how difficult it was for young people to overcome the nagging moral deterioration of the regime and then the complex process of spiritual liberation in the wake of destalinization.
A new life began with my enrolment in the Ph.D. program at Leningrad State University. I describe the intellectual milieu of that moment as well as the ideological and material impediments to normal social and private life—fraught with injustice and the constant struggle between spiritual uprightness and political humiliation.